I feel like I’ve done pretty cool things in my 32 years on earth.

In my travels, I’ve climbed Huayana Picchu (the mountain opposite Machu Picchu), rappelled off a cliff in Patagonia, wandered around the Parthenon, seen Real Madrid play in Madrid, played with penguins in Argentina, found serenity in Seoul, snorkeled in Jamaica and the Caymans, feasted my way throughout glorious Italy, and traipsed the streets of London and Buenos Aires.

I’ve seen some beautiful places, met some amazing friends around the country and fallen in love with an amazing man who inspires me to be the best I can be each and every day.

For all my issues, I am truly blessed.

But I have to say … nothing — and I repeat nothing — has been as awe-inspiring as being a mother.

No, it’s not always easy (breastfeeding, weaning, switching to solids, ditching the paci — to name a few), and it’s not always fun (who enjoys blowouts, pumping, teething, or daycare-contracted ear infections/pink eye/ strep, to name a few).

But I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Sometimes I just can’t believe she is mine; ours. I look into her face and see a reflection that is part me, part Luis.

In the womb, I was always wondering what she’d look like when she was born.

At birth, she looked like a mini-L.; the resemblance was uncanny. In fact, we have a pic at home of him at 3 months and I swear it’s like looking at Maya … it’s crazy the similarities, down to their square chins. But now she is looking more like me (or so people tell me) — the blue eyes, dimples (I only have one, baby girl has 2!), fair skin, curly hair (at the bottom, at least, for now!). Though she isn’t even three feet tall yet, we can tell she already has a long torso and short, stocky legs — like both of her parents. (Sorry, kiddo!)

Some of her mannerisms are so clearly his. The way she focuses so intently on something she’s doing, the way she can play in silence — mesmerized by her toys, the way she wants to know how things work– and will keep trying til she gets it right (first born Type-A alert!). The way she is a great eater — will try anything once, and maybe again.

And some of her mannerisms are so clearly mine. The way she laughs with that double-dimpled smile, how she wants a taste of everything–but just a taste!, her chatterbox nature (even though most of it is just babble), the way she hesitates when she knows she’s about to do something she shouldn’t and looks back at me for approval … (literally and figuratively — even at 32, I definitely look to my mom for approval!) and she seems to have a strong sense already of “right” and “wrong.”

It’s funny, L. isn’t a first-born, but is in many senses. His sister, my SIL, was born with severe brain damage. We love C. to pieces, but realistically she will never surpass a 3-yr old mentality — which is very hard to wrap your head around. I, on the other hand, am a true first born, and we are seeing a lot of first-born tendencies come out in Maya.

She’s asserting her independence now — she won’t let us feed her or brush her teeth (she has to do both by herself; she’s damn good with the spoon now and also pretty good at brushing her teeth). She wants to do things on her own now and will literally throw her head back in her highchair dare we come at her with the spoon! I picture her saying, “No mommy, I DO!” in a few months. <<Sigh>>

But she is also a great little helper — helping us get her undressed/dressed, putting her dirty clothes in the hamper, putting her toys in their respective buckets/boxes/bags, helping feed the puppy. It makes me think that — when the time comes for #2 (someday, not pregnant!) — maybe she’d be a big helper then, as well.

I watch my daughter grow and change by the day now … new behaviors, new words, new sounds, new likes/dislikes, new everything. She is an open book, waiting to be written; a tabula rosa of the human kind. To realize we, her parents, have the ability — and the power — to help shape her world is just mind-blowing. It’s a lot of pressure .. but of the best kind. We aren’t perfect parents and we will surely mess up from time to time — but we’re learning.

She amazes me in so many ways. When I’m feeling stressed, all it takes is one Maya hug or belly-laugh to erase all my anxieties. Her world is simple, her life is simple. She derives pleasure from simple things; she enjoys doing simple things. In a world of overcomplication, overconnectedness, overeverything … sometimes it takes being around a baby toddler to really “get” that life doesn’t need to be difficult.

She makes me want to be the best mom/wife/daughter/friend/sister I can be, and the tender moments we share are memories I will keep for a lifetime.

I see her looking more and more like a little girl. She still has her delicious rolls on her arms and legs (think Michelin Man, only cuter!), but they are disappearing. She’s getting taller. (Her weight hasn’t changed, but a few pairs of her 12-18 month pants finally fit–she had grown 1/2 inch in the past month). Her hair is coming in. She wears big-girl shoes and is fully in 12 and 12-18 month clothes now. She preens in the mirror (Dana, that was for you :)), staring at herself and pointing, brushing her hair. She likes to wear jackets now (which she used to hate) and often reaches for one before I’m ready to get her out the door.

And I wonder what kind of girl she will be. I see glimpses of a shy but social butterfly — much like myself at her age — but it’s hard to know.  Will she be a girly-girl and want to play with ponies and princesses, or more of a tomboy, interested in cars and trucks? Will she have one best friend or lots of little friends?

And what kind of teenager/young woman will she be? It’s bizarre to think about, so I won’t even go there.

All I know is I’m awe-inspired by her, and my life has been illuminated by her.

Is there anything more amazing???


6 thoughts on “Awe-Inspired

  1. It makes my stomach flip when I try to imagine Nate as an eight year old… or a teenager… or an adult. It’s like my mind refuses to believe it’ll happen. So much new stuff happens all the time now, as you describe, and I just want this time to last so I can savor it all.

    I told someone the other day that I’m 3/4 of the way to my PhD but being a mother will always be both the most difficult and the most rewarding thing I ever do.

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